"This blog is not necessarily for lovers of art, it includes a variety of topics and whatever. I'm a painter who likes to know what's really going on in the world today. So you might find anything from Shamrocks to Salmiakki mentioned here on my blog. There will of course be some boring, factual and informational posts, but I'll keep them to a minimum, I promise!

And I might get a bit nostalgic now and then.

So you have been warned!"

- Alan Hogan

Showing posts with label rock. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rock. Show all posts

Friday, February 20, 2015

Top Hat In Bloom (updated repost)

Kurt Cobain
(February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994)

If he were alive today he would be celebrating his 48rd birthday. Unfortunately on April 8, 1994 Kurt Cobain was found dead after committing suicide by shooting himself at his home in Seattle. While not a huge fan of the singer and his band Nirvana, I did enjoy their sound and I witnessed the impact it had on a lot of people, mostly those of my younger brother's generation in the early nineties.

Kurt Cobain and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth

Dublin, 1991

One concert I recall hearing about while living back in Ireland was their support gig to Sonic Youth at the 'Top Hat' venue in Dublin on 21 August 1991. I recall this gig as I was more a fan of Sonic Youth at the time, and it was a concert I really wanted to be at, but I just couldn't get a ticket. This concert at the Top Hat was held just one month before Kurt Cobain's band Nirvana released their biggest album called Nevermind and it was the first time Irish fans got to hear their biggest ever hit Smells Like Teen Spirit. That moment must have been really special I reckon.

Here's an advert for that concert which I kept from a magazine at the time. (looks like the magazine printed the wrong date!)

Nirvana played support to Sonic Youth at a gig the previous night in Sir Henry's Pub, Cork before heading to Dublin.  

Here's an audio clip of their song 'About a Girl' from that gig.

It is known that Kurt Cobain felt a spiritual connection with the city of Cork while he was there. He researched his family name and concluded that it may have originated from this area of Ireland. It is without doubt that Cobain and his music was and remains much admired in Ireland, and I imagine that he will be remembered once again by Irish fans when fellow Nirvana band member Dave Grohl returns to Ireland in 2015 with his own equally good band the Foo Fighters to play at the mighty Slane Castle. That promises to be something special I reckon.  
Kurt Cobain can be heard in this interview below with rock journalist Jon Savage on July 22, 1993 talking about such ancestoral notions and other issues such as his parents' divorce and the impact of other bands on his music. The video is wonderfully animated by the people at Blank on Blank, (Cobain was found dead in April 1994)

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- Alan 


Friday, June 27, 2014

In Bono's Country!

'On the Street'
An oil painting from 1987, the year of 'The Joshua Tree' featuring the band U2 
standing outside Freebird recordshop on Grafton street in Dublin, Ireland.

I just thought I'd do a quick blog about a rock concert I attended on this day, June 27th back in 1987.
It was U2's concert at Croke Park in their hometown of Dublin, Ireland. They were touring with songs from their album 'The Joshua Tree' which had become a huge hit on the American market. 

I've never been a huge fan of U2. In fact this was the only U2 concert I'd ever been to. Indeed, I have bought plenty of their music over the years and I liked their sound a lot. I still have my old vinyl release of their debut album 'Boy' as well as other early albums and a few singles. I also have a few recent cds. I have met 'real' fans of the band over the years and some can be a bit too fanatical in my opinion. I prefer to be a relaxed and moderate fan myself. Maybe it's the fact that some of the band grew up where I come from. They feel like old neighbours or school mates who did alright for themselves. 

Here's a BBC radio excerpt all about U2 introduced by Huey Morgan from the Fun Lovin' Criminals
I recommend you give it a listen! 

I honestly don't rate 'The Joshua Tree' as one of my favorite albums by U2. I personally prefer the 'Boy' album, or even 'War' or 'Achtung Baby'. 
Back in 1987 U2 were not my favorite band. That title was reserved for American band R.E.M. 
... Besides, as any Dubliner will tell you - it's not cool to like U2!! (something the Irish like to pretend is true!)
But having said all of the above I can honestly say that the Croke park concert of 1987 was one of the best concerts I ever attended and what a performance!!!

Here is a photo of my battered ticket from that concert. I keep it on my wall here in Finland alongside the rest of my small ticket collection. I never actually made it up to my allocated seat due to the packed crowds dragging me along to every single sway of the music. I made it through the entrance with my cousin, but within 10 minutes I had lost him. I eventually met up with him 4 hours later somewhere outside, at least I think it was him!!! 

I ended up jumping about and chatting with lots of strangers while listening to the support acts. At one point I even got into the VIP area upstairs with the help of my Dublin bus-pass id. Honestly, the things we used to do to impress a good-looking girl!!  I suppose those few bottles of cider I drank earlier down by the canal might have helped a little too. 
'Don't believe for one minute that it's all glamour and champagne in the VIP camp, it's not. Once I was in there I got very bored very quickly! It was actually harder getting out the place than getting in! .... Indeed the ordinary punters out on the pitch always have the best fun!

Anyway, here's a reminder of that great gig in Dublin. One of those times in life where you find yourself in the right place at the right time. ...Yep, this was certainly one of them!


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- Alan 

#bono #U2 #crokepark #gaa #dublin #rock #larrymullenjr #adamclayton #theedge #hoganstand #famousconcerts #thejoshuatreetour #thegreatestbandever #hotpressmagazine

Friday, May 25, 2012

Art and Rockabilly in Helsinki

Residents and visitors to Helsinki can see a small selection of my artwork at NDN alternative studio. This limited exhibition is on view at various stages during this summer with occasional changing of artworks. Currently I have four pieces of work on display. They are all the original artworks and all are for sale from myself or through the owner of NDN studio. The current artworks will remain on view until 07.06.2012 before a short break for renovations at NDN studio occurs. Here are those four works on view just now.

'Sunset at Sea' by Alan Hogan
2008 acrylic on canvas

'Flower for Rafa' 2006 - Alan Hogan

'The Red House in Finland' - Alan Hogan,
2009, acrylic on canvas

'Birch Path' - Alan Hogan
2008, acrylic on canvas.
Prices and more information in English and Finnish are available on this downloadable PDF
The prices quoted are exclusive to NDN studio and do not include post and packaging.
Online purchases of original paintings only available via Paypal. Contact theartgarage(at)
Print available online here

Visitors to NDN studio can also of course speak to it's owner Veera Leena Nissi whose main business specialises in nailcare and beauty treatments. She's a gifted individual who also promotes Zinzino coffee devices among other things. On my last visit to her studio she was promoting a young Finnish singer called Miki Lamarr.

I bought Miki Lamarrs vinyl record (above) from studio owner Veera and took it home to play. I still like buy and play old vinyl records! This appealing sound was one of retro sixties which reminded me of music my parents liked to listen to. Think of british tv series 'Heartbeat' and you might be on the right track. There's a broad trend in Finland for this 50's-60's rockabilly style of music. Some people spend a lot of money on keeping this image and trend alive, including investments of authentic rockabilly era cars. I have a wide appreciation for all kinds of music and I must admit this style of music should as Buddy Holly once sang 'Not Fade Away'!
I like this music personally as it brings back happy memories of family who are not here anymore. It's a more stylish scene with colourful and sharper clothes, and plenty of nostalgia can be found by those who appreciate it. Music from the fifties/sixties is great and long may it last! Here's a neat Miki Lamarr video with her singing a song originally a hit in 1964 for English beat group The Honeycombs called 'Have I the right'. I think I need a haircut! :)

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hogan's Heroes of Music - The Beatles

"Most of the posts on this blog are art-related somehow. And I wanted to include a regular posting dedicated to music, another art form which is very important to me. I don't play any musical instruments as such, but I do love to listen! This series of blog posts will cover just a few of the musicians and bands whom I have admired and listened to over the years. I won't be listing my favorites in any particular order, but I just thought that I'd start off my list with the The Beatles as they have been the most influential band in my life and probably many others. Some of you reading this will most likely have your own opinions and views on the bands mentioned. And some of you will have your own favorites which I may not list. But for now, as it's my blog I am just going to list off a few of my personal faves. You are welcome to add any comments below after reading." 
- Alan Hogan 

The Beatles

One of the greatest forms of art is of course music. And music is very important to me. I would find my daily life very boring and uneasy without listening to some form of music during the day. It's a form of relaxation, inspiration and sometimes a vent for frustration. I've had it with me throughout my life. In fact I can honestly say I've been listening to music since before I was born. I believe there's a truth in the practice of mothers trying to relax their unborn babies by playing music to them.
However, I think the music I heard was by coincidence rather than intentional. Luckily for me it happened to be a generation for great music, and finding a radio playing loud at home wasn't at all unusual. Maybe it was a sign of the times, but for some reason I can remember the sound of The Beatles playing even before I was born.

The song in question that I seem to remember being played way back then was 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'
I later heard this song again and again on the radio while growing up back in Ireland. 
The Fab Four played at the Adelphi Cinema in Dublin 1963. This was the only concert they ever played in Ireland. Three aunties of mine went to the show and met the band briefly afterwards. They were tipped off that the band were exiting secretly through a back entrance due to crowd worries. And before being ushered away in an old newspaper van to the Gresham Hotel the band stopped to say hello to a few of their fans.

Twenty years later I borrowed a few of my aunt's Beatles records and start listening to their music properly. Still in school at the time, I had just gone through a phase of listening to British new wave sounds and began listening to another favourite band of mine called REM. But none of that could ever compare to Beatles albums such as 'Help' and 'A Hard Days Night'. Here's a little clip from 1963 taken from 'The Beatles Anthology' dvd with a short intro by producer George Martin.

I like to think I have good taste in music, even though I don't listen to too much of any one style. I will of course get bored if I listen to the same music genre for too long. After too much listening I even get turned off great bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones. I purposely make a break from listening to bands because I know that when I return to their music it will amaze me all over again. The same can be said for more modern greats like U2, Springsteen, REM and Metallica.

Of all the bands and musicians I know, I think The Beatles have endured the longest, mainly because of their wide range of music and the crossover of genres made by the band in such a short period (10 years!). From early sixties beat-music, to psychadelia, to heavy blues and to the perfect ballad, they had it all. This is why I find their music very difficult to put away, I always seem to have one or two of their cds or a vinyl album sitting somewhere nearby. Their music is timeless for me, and it can sometimes feel like a breath of fresh air after a drive in the car listening to whatever the regular radios stations are throwing at me. I certainly hope their music will be around for as long as I live, and I hope more young people listen to it. Maybe it will keep inspiring more and more musicians to write better songs and music into the future.

The Beatles

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Soul Inspired!

When most people think of Irish music festivals they think of fiddles, tin whistles, lively dancing and the odd refreshment. But times have changed and nowadays Ireland has many other musical festivals to offer, and for many different tastes. Festivals such as the Cork Jazz Festival, the Electric Picnic, and the Castlebar Blues Festival for example. And this month another festival which has only been around for 5 years comes back to Ireland's capital. Set up by a group of young dedicated Dubliners in 2007 the annual 'Dublin City Soul Festival' is an event about creating positive feeling through soul music. It's a way for musicians and like-minded people to come together and show their passion for what's best about Ireland. One of the big attractions of this year's festival I reckon will be the amazing and charismatic Mirenda Rosenberg, a singer from the U.S. now living in Ireland since 2005. Tickets are only €15 to see her, an absolute bargain! Check her out here in this video, fantastic!

There has been a wholesome connection between the roots of soul music and various musicians in Ireland over the years, and a great bond of musical respect has been established because of this. Well-known Irish artists such as U2, Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor, The Chieftains, Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan come to mind.

And I suppose we shouldn't forget that little movie by director Alan Parker called 'The Committments'. This is the band that came to my mind first when I heard about this new festival in Dublin. It's a film I really enjoyed for the energy, the acting and of course that sweet soul music! Although I don't recall anyone singing soul music on the buses when I was growing up in Dublin. Weddings perhaps, but never on public transport!

It's not a bad redition of the old classic soul tunes. But let's be honest here and say that the originals are the ones to savour and add to your cd collection. The Committments were at their best an excellent covers band, not unlike a lot of the cover bands doing the pub circuits around Ireland at the moment. It is however nice to see that the old gang are back together again these days, and they have a 20th Anniversary Reunion Concert planned for next November in Dublin's Olympia Theatre. In fact they play two nights on November 9th and 10th, 2011. If you're lucky enough to be in Ireland around those dates you might like to enter this competition here to win some tickets. They recently had a comback concert last March with all of the original line-up. Here's a little video from Irish television with a few of them singing the classic 'Chain of Fools', and yes, that is the gorgeous Imelda Quirke singing!!...sorry I mean Angeline Ball!

The Dublin City Soul Festival's big banner-call this year is 'Cead Mile Failte', which is an Irish welcome as described in this short poem here.

An Irish Welcome
Here's Céad Míle Fáilte to friend and to rover
That's a greeting that's Irish as Irish can be
It means you are welcome
A thousand times over
Wherever you come from, Whosoever you be.

I recently received an email from one of the Soul Festival's event people asking me if I'd like to take part in this year's event. The organisers have a project called Eye Candy where they ask artists to donate a piece of their work in aid of the festival's charity. The charity in question is called the 'Musical Youth Foundation'. It is the aim of this charity to provide more access for every Irish child to music through free lessons and musical instruments. I did of course donate a painting. I didn't have a lot of notice about the event, but I hope this little piece which I sent over can help somehow. I call it 'Soul Inspired' with a slight pun towards Dublin city's most controversial landmark called 'The Spire' on O'Connell Street (see photo below). The 'Dublin City Soul Festival 2011' is on from May 26th to May 29th 2011.

Finally, speaking of charity events, for anybody living in Ireland there's a great little table quiz being held in Dublin on June 1st, 2011 in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. It's called 'The Hogan Quiz' and it's organised by a wonderful bunch of people with plenty of heart and soul. And they also happen to be cousins of mine so you will definately have a great night. For more information check out their event page on Facebook here!

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The Art Garage, Finland

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